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Houston-galveston Area Evacuation And Response Task Force


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Houston - Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, Brazoria County Judge John Willy, and Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough announced the creation of the Houston-Galveston Area Evacuation and Response Task Force this morning at a press conference at Houston Transtar.

"Judge Willy, Judge Yarbrough, and I have been talking for several years about a possible mass evacuation of our region's coastal area and developing an evacuation plan that could move over one million people out of harm's way", said Judge Eckels. "Then we were hit with Rita, and we put our plan into action. None of us anticipated that over two million people in the three county region would evacuate at the same time. There were problems, and we don't want what happened on the highways to occur again. Our goal with the Houston-Galveston Area Evacuation and Response Task Force is to identify the things that we did right, and to identify what we, as a region, need to improve. We want to find ways within our community to come together to improve our operations; not just Houston and Harris County, but throughout the three county region and beyond."

"We learned a great deal from this experience", said Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough. "We found a lot of issues that may not have been thought out thoroughly beforehand. But the good news is that these are solvable problems. There are solutions to the issues we encountered and it is going to take a coordinated effort."Brazoria County Judge John Willy said, "Our job is to save lives and protect the property of people. We must work on a regional basis and must have a plan that succeeds. We can do a better job, and with this task force, we can have a plan, we can do it right, and it will be better next time."

The Houston-Galveston Area Evacuation and Response Task Force will work directly with the Governor's Task Force on Evacuation Transportation and Logistics.

Appointees to the Houston-Galveston Evacuation and Response Task Force are: Sylvia Garcia, Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2; Paul Bettencourt, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector; John Manlove, Mayor of Pasadena; Bill King, former Mayor of Kemah; Elliot Henning, Galveston County Office of Emergency Management coordinator; Ivan Langford, City Manager, Dickson; Lyda Ann Thomas, Mayor, City of Galveston; Steve LeBlanc, City Manager, City of Galveston; Dr. David Persse, Director, Emergency Management Services, City of Houston; Stephen Williams, Director, Health and Human Services, City of Houston; David Feeley, Senior Vice President of Operations, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Harris County.

Additional members will be added to the task force.

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